Vatican rep urges study of causes of small arms race

In an address to the United Nations, Holy See Permanent Observer Archbishop Celestino Migliore, called on the world body to more thoroughly analyse the reasons behind demand for small arms, so as to eradicate their illicit trade.

Catholic News Agency reports that Archbishop Migliore's address was given in New York to a committee reviewing progress made in the implementation of the Program of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW).

The Archbishop began by saying that the forthcoming conference is likely to be the most important such meeting to take place since the UN's 2001 adoption of the "Program of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate Illicit Trade in SALW in All its Aspects" itself.

Because of the potential success of the gathering, Archbishop Migliore suggested that the UN "start a serious reflection on the possibility of negotiating a legally binding instrument on international arms trade ... based on the more important principles of international law."

"The 2006 review conference", he said, "could take useful steps to promote effective engagement on SALW, ... by launching a process enabling interested States and relevant organizations to flesh out principles, policies and programs that address the links between efforts to prevent and reduce SALW trafficking, proliferation and misuse."

The Archbishop lamented that this process has too often "focused its attention on the supply side of arms sale."

"However," he said, "if we consider both the humanitarian costs of SALW and the profound connection between them, and the process of human and sustainable development, then it becomes clear that greater attention now needs to be paid to reducing the demand for SALW."

He said that drastically reducing the demand for small arms "requires not only political will but better focused research into the dynamics of conflicts, crimes and violence."

"This obliges us to act responsibly to promote a real culture of peace and life among all members of society," he told the group.

Reduce demand for arms by analyzing need, promoting peace, says Vatican rep. to UN (Catholic News Agency 10/1/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations

Chilean Bishops collecting illegal arms (CathNews 20/5/05)
Vatican urges UN to stop illicit small arms trading (CathNews 11/7/03)

Analyze causes behind the demand for arms (Vatican Information Service 10/1/06)
Pope urges cuts in spending on arms to feed poor (Ekklesia 10/1/06)

11 Jan 2006